Happy July! As usual, this July is going to be filled with blockbusters, sequels, remakes, raunchy comedies, and superheroes, but there are some worthwhile smaller films as well. Opening today, for the holiday weekend, we have two sequels. Magic Mike […]
“We’re healers,” one of the male exotic dancers, explains to another in “Magic Mike XXL.” They’re here to bring a smile to women who have not, through tragically misguided oversight, been worshipped and adored. They have not been ap-PRE-ciated. They […]
“I’ll be back,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the first “Terminator” movie. He had the title role but only 16 lines, with about a total of 80 words. But those three words have become a legend. It now appears he meant […]
I asked actor/dancer Stephen “tWitch” Boss whether it was as much fun to make “Magic Mike XXL” as it looked, and he said, “Absolutely and even more. People have been asking me what I would say to guys that are […]
Martin Sheen and Amy Grant provide the voices in this animated animal adventure inspired by Noah’s Ark, from Entertainment One (eOne). “All Creatures Big and Small” will be available for free for a limited time on Google Play starting July […]
David and Christi Eaton wanted to help families devastated by suicide and those who struggle with thoughts of suicide. And so they wrote “Hope Bridge.” I spoke with them about how a busy couple with six children who had never […]
Coming in summer 2016 from Pixar.
“Honeyglue” follows the story of Morgan (Adriana Mather), who flips her conservative, protected life upside down after learning she has three months left to live. She sets out on a bucket list of adventures with a purse snatching ex-junkie cross […]
Big Game, now in theaters and on VOD, is an exciting action movie about Oskari, a Finnish kid on a solo hunting trip, who has to save the President of the United States when he is ejected from Air Force […]
Billy Gardell (“Mike & Molly”) stars in Dancer and The Dame. Gardell plays Rick Dancer, a wisecracking, disgruntled detective who is long past his prime. Only with the help of Princess, a fussy and fastidious canine cop, can Dancer break […]
Will Ferrell plays a devoted stepdad who gets into a competition for the kids’ attention and affection with their biological dad, played by Mark Wahlberg, in “Daddy’s Home.”
We are delighted to present an exclusive clip from the DVD extras on Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. It’s a lot of fun to see Kevin James mess up his lines! It’s available on Digital HD June 30, 2015 and […]
“Max” is a good, old-fashioned story of a boy and a dog who mend each other’s broken hearts. It is heartwarming without getting treacly, and frank without getting too disturbing. And it has adventure, romance, loss, and something to say […]
Yes, it is basically “Die Hard” and “Under Siege” in the mountains of Finland, if Bruce Willis was a kid on a rite-of-passage solo hunting trip. And instead of executive hostages in a big office building, the kid has to […]
“Infinitely Polar Bear” is the term a young girl uses in this film for bipolar disorder, the mental illness that her father struggled with as he cared for his daughters. And it lets us know that this sensitive, touching […]
“Subtle” is not a word that naturally comes to mind for a movie that features a bong in the shape of male genitalia (which is more powerful — the longing for weed or the ew-factor of a straight guy who […]
Writer/director Patrick Brice talked to me about his funny and provocative new film, “The Overnight,” about a couple new to Los Angeles (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling) who are invited to dinner at the lavish home of an impossibly hip […]
Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”), David Tennant (“Dr. Who”), and Billy Connolly (“Brave”) star in a family comedy about a vacation with relatives, where a couple discovers that it is very hard to keep a secret when there are children around. […]
Boz Yakin wrote and directed “Max,” the story of a weapons-sniffing military dog whose human partner is killed. So traumatized he can no longer work, he goes to live with the grieving family and is cared for by their younger […]
Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The then 15-year-old (she turns 18 this July) was singled out, along with her father, […]
One of the greatest movie composers of all time, James Horner, died this week in a plane crash. His compositions added enormous depth and emotion to some of the all-time critical and audience triumphs, including the movie that broke the […]
Before “Inside Out,” there was another animated film that explored emotions and psychological and cognitive development. Based on the pioneering work of psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, animators John and Faith Hubley created “Everybody Rides the Carousel,” with segments illustrating Erikson’s stages […]
We are delighted to present an exclusive clip from Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle, released today. The soundtrack is also available. And don’t forget to take a selfie with Curious George! When Curious George is asked to take […]
Antonia Bogdanovich is the co-writer and director of “Phantom Halo,” the story of two brothers and their father, a one-time Shakespearean actor who forces them to steal to support his gambling and alcohol addictions. The brothers are named for the […]
Ever wonder what your pets get up to while you’re away? Jenny Slate, Steve Coogan, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Ellie Kemper and Louis C.K. will tell you all about it!
“Grace Stirs Up Success” is the latest in the excellent “American Girl” series, all featuring spirited young heroines confronting real-life problems, and learning some important lessons. They always include a lot of fun and a loving family, too. In this […]
I loved every film I saw at AFI Docs this year, with a wide variety in subject matter and tone. There were intimate, personal stories, and movies about major global figures and forces. And I also saw an eye-popping demonstration […]
Thirty years ago, a college comedy called “Real Genius” was released, and it is good to see that it holds up well. It is even more apt in some ways now than it was when it came out. Tor’s Emily […]
Happy Father’s Day! And extra Father’s Day love to the two great dads in my life, my father and my husband. These are three of my favorite movie dads. Give the dad in your life an extra hug and ask […]
The first-ever animated feature from StoryCorps celebrates the transformative power of listening. Listening Is an Act of Love: A StoryCorps Special presents six stories from 10 years of the innovative oral history project, where everyday people sit down together to […]
This animated film is inspired by the life of Bilal Ibn Rabah, one of Muhammad’s most trusted companions and known for his beautiful voice with which he called people to their prayers.
Writer/director Maya Forbes did not just base her new film on her own childhood; she had her sister contribute to the soundtrack and cast her daughter as Amelia, the character inspired by Forbes herself. The film covers the period when […]
In honor of Father’s Day, my eBook, 50 Must-See Movies: Fathers is FREE through Monday, June 22, 2015. What do “Wall Street” and the “Star Wars” saga and, seemingly, about half the movies ever made have in common? They are about […]
Roger Ebert liked to refer to movies as an “empathy machine.” He said that the great gift of movies, more than any other art form, is the way they can put us inside the world, experiences, culture, and perspective of […]
In this clip, we meet two of the emotions living inside toddler-age Riley: Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black). I love the way emotions thought of as negative are shown here to play an essential and even constructive role.
Summer vacation is a great time to get kids into the habit of reading. Rude Cakes is deliciously imaginative and witty. Writer/illustrator Rowboat Watkins introduces us to the title pastries who are indeed very rude. They do not say please […]
AFI Docs (formerly SilverDocs) begins tonight in Washington, D.C. with another spectacular slate of documentary films. The opening night festivities feature “The Best of Enemies,” a terrific film about the battle of the upper-class, socially connected, classically educated, hyperverbal writers […]
LeBron James talks about how much he loves Cleveland in this clip from Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck,” with Bill Hader.
I am a big fan of critic Lisa Rosman, and her appreciation of “Rosemary’s Baby” for Word & Film is one of her best. On the surface, an Australian import about a mother and child haunted by a children’s book […]
My friend Susan Wloszczyna interviewed “Inside Out’s” co-writer/director Pete Docter for IndieWire. The film takes place primarily inside the mind and emotions of an 11-year-old girl who has just moved to a new home and a new city with her […]
Two of Hollywood’s top filmmakers have new books out, and both, unusually, are compilations of interviews with creative people. Judd Apatow, one of the most influential writer/director/producers of the last twenty years, has written Sick in the Head: Conversations About […]
Ben Foster plays Lance Armstrong and Chris O’Dowd plays David Walsh, the Irish journalist who uncovered the story about Armstrong’s use of dope and his lies. Walsh’s book is Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong.
Jimmy Cagney plays George M. Cohan in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Happy Flag Day!
In 1996, David Lipsky was assigned by Rolling Stone to write a profile of author David Foster Wallace, and so they spent five days together while Wallace was finishing his promotional tour for his book, Infinite Jest. After Wallace committed […]
Of course the dinosaurs and the geniuses at ILM who created them are the real stars of “Jurassic World.” But the highest compliment we can pay the human performers is that they can hold their own next to the CGI […]
Uproxx reports that AMC has a new all-horror movie streaming service called Shudder with over 200 titles from the classics to international spook-fests, slashers, urban dread, supernatural scares, and more. You’ve been warned, but if you’re ready to be disturbed, […]
Alden Films presents “Biblical Archeology of Israel,” including: ANCIENT ROOTS — a compilation of recent discoveries in archaeological research in Israel THE BOOK AND THE IDOL — Israel through the ages, from the stone age to biblical times EXPLORERS […]
The Chicago Tribune asked actors and filmmakers what books they would like to see adapted for the screen. “Selma” director Ava DuVernay picked Octavia Butler’s time travel story Kindred. Ethan Hawke picked the provocative Story of the Eye by Georges […]
Israeli filmmaker Sharon Mayman says that the idea for “The Farewell Party” came from the time that his boyfriend’s grandmother, age 92, was dying, and paramedics prolonged her suffering by “fighting for her life like she was 16 years old.” […]
In 1975, a Boulder, Colorado county clerk issued six marriage licenses to gay couples, including Filipino-American Richard Adams and his Australian husband, Tony Sullivan. Richard immediately filed for a green card for Tony based on their marriage. But unlike most […]
“Pass the Light” follows 17-year-old high school student Steve Bellafiore (Cameron Palatas) as he decides to stand up against a congressional candidate’s use of religion to spread hatred and intolerance. Steve runs for Congress on a campaign of uniting the […]
One problem is that we really do not know very much about dinosaurs, especially live ones, and especially genetically tweaked live ones. A bigger problem is that we keep ignoring what we do know about humans. Over and over again […]
“Spy” beat “Entourage” last weekend in the battle of the two R-rated raunchy comedies. The one featuring women in all the lead roles was first at the box office with a robust $29.1 million, and the one featuring men in […]
What if there really was a Jurassic World theme park? It would have a Jurassic World website just like this one. It has attraction wait times, fun facts, scheduled special events, and even some warnings not to tap on the […]
“Freedom” interweaves two stories of slavery. In one, an enslaved family led by Samuel (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) escapes via the Underground Railroad. In the other, set a century earlier, John Newton, the captain of a slave trader sails from Africa […]
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only […]
Working with real-life paleontologist Jack Horner to create a very scary new dinosaur!
Best-selling author Joseph Finder knows thrillers, and his list of the best heist stories is a great one. His newest book is The Fixer. It is the story of former investigative reporter Rick Hoffman who loses his job, his fiancée, […]
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks team up again in “Bridge of Spies,” with a screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen. It is based on the real-life story of an American lawyer recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to […]
Lifetime’s new reality series is “Preach,” following four powerful female leaders who believe God has given them the ability to heal the sick, see the future and rid people of their addictions. Known as “Prophetesses,” these women say that they […]
“Where Was God?” is a documentary about “stories of hope after the storm,” the impact on the community of Moore, Oklahoma of an E5 storm with destructive power eight times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. I spoke to […]
Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in “Macbeth,” Shakespeare’s story of ambition, murder, ghosts, witches, and madness.
It is time to celebrate. Melissa McCarthy finally has the movie role she deserves. Writer/director Paul Feig, who directed her in “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” has wisely given her center stage and allowed her to be quirky and awkward, which […]
They both have one-word titles. They are both very raunchy R-rated comedies. And this week they square off against each other for domination of the box office. “Entourage” continues the adventures of movie star Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his home-town […]
Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan star in this film based on the fight to give women the right to vote in the UK. I wish it had been called “Suffragist,” the term the women themselves preferred (“suffragette” was used by […]
I sometimes muse that it might be nice to have a rule that I spend no more time writing a review of a film than the screenwriter spent writing the script. If I had, this review could end right here, with […]
In this ad from Wells Fargo, a couple learns sign language to welcome their new daughter.
We are delighted to be able to share a clip from Dreamwork Dragons: Race to the Edge, coming from Netflix on June 26, 2015. Hiccup stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient treasure while exploring an abandoned, booby-trapped ship.
Summer movies are here! Raunchy comedies, blockbuster sequels, and even some documentaries and indie gems. Here’s what’s ahead this month. June 3 Entourage: Vince and his pals are back as the hit HBO series about a Hollywood star and his friends, and […]
WINNERS OF THE 2015 CRITICS’ CHOICE TELEVISION AWARDS · Best Drama Series: The Americans (FX) · Best Actor in a Drama Series: Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC) · Best Actress in a Drama Series: Taraji P. Henson, Empire (FOX) […]
It was just over a year ago that I first spoke to “Touched by an Angel” creator Martha Williamson about her dead letter detective series for Hallmark, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” She is one of my all-time favorite interviews, making me […]
The 1980’s cartoon series “Jem and the Holograms” is now a movie! It stars that Aubrey Peeples as Jem, Stefanie Scott as Kimber, Hayley Kiyoko as Aja, Aurora Perrineau as Shana, and Ryan Guzman as Rio, and it is scheduled […]
This new film from Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “Something’s Got to Give”) stars Anne Hathaway as a young executive with a new intern played by Robert De Niro.
Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow present four classic episodes on this new DVD from PBS Kids. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie read by Beth Howland, Owen read by Matthew Broderick, Two OId Potatoes and Me read by Jordan […]
The New Yorker has created a section with some of its best profiles of actresses, including Angela Bassett, Julia Roberts, Diane Keaton, Tilda Swinton, and Katharine Hepburn. They are a treat to read and will inspire you to check out […]
Another summer blockbuster-by-the-numbers, another dad who needs redemption and re-connection with his family, and the only way he can get it is via massive, catastrophic disasters lovingly created via CGI that feels more real than the emotions, characters, or dialog. […]
Writer/director Cameron Crowe presents us with an attractive and talented but messy and compromised hero in “Aloha,” and asks us to root for him. The problem is that the film itself is attractive, talent-filled, messy, and compromised, and harder to […]
This is certainly turning out to be the year of the AI robot. This one stars Daniel Brühl and this time the robot is a child named EVA.
Tonight Turner Classic Movies has some time travel treats, including George Pal’s classic version of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux. Also on the schedule is “Time After Time,” with Malcolm McDowell as Wells himself, […]
Minnie Mouse has a new business — a pet salon! And I have a copy to give away. All the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse friends are bringing their pets in for beauty treatments so they can participate in Pluto’s All-Star Pet […]
Picturehouse will be releasing “Big Stone Gap” this fall. It was filmed on location in Virginia and stars Ashley Judd as Ave Maria Mulligan, who lives a simple life with her mother, runs the pharmacy, directs the real-life tourist attraction […]
The Illuminate Film Festival opens today in Sedona, Arizona. Its mission is to be the premier film festival for “conscious cinema.” Dedicated to spreading enlightened ideas and pushing humanity forward, Illuminate is poised to become a landmark destination event and […]
Billy Gardell, star of television’s Mike & Molly, talked to me about his new film, Dancer & The Dame. He plays Rick Dancer. “He was once like a super detective and he kind of got obsessed chasing this bad guy […]
This new documentary tells the stories of the athletes who seek the freedom that comes from living in the moment and doing what makes us feel the most alive. This documentary written and directed by Jon Long (IMAX® Extreme) is […]
Daniel Tiger loves being outside and spending time with his family and friends. In these eight stories, he learns about swimming safely and visits the Enchanted Garden to pick strawberries. When a windstorm makes a mess of the playground, Daniel […]
Here’s a great sneak peek inside “Jurassic World,” coming to theaters on June 12, 2015.
Today we mourn the loss of actress/comedian Anne Meara, wife of Jerry Stiller and mother of actor/director Ben Stiller. Stiller and Meara were a comedy team who appeared frequently on the Ed Sullivan show. Their humor often focused on their […]
On the eve of Memorial Day, PBS will broadcast a star-studded lineup for the annual Memorial Day concert and tribute to the military. For over 25 years, this multiple-award-winning television event has honored the military service and sacrifice of all […]
I’ve already written about great documentaries and feature films about the military to watch on Memorial Day. These recent documentaries about our 21st century conflicts give the military a chance to tell their own story. They are not pro-war or […]
The amazing Make-a-Wish story that captivated the world is now a movie, and I’ve been looking forward to it since I attended the event at last year’s Comic-Con. Can’t wait.
Jesus appears to Saul to turn him towards righteousness in this clip from Episode 8 of “A.D. The Bible Continues,” premiering Sunday, May 24, 2015, at 9/8c on NBC.
Brad Bird’s gorgeously imagined “Tomorrowland” is not just inspired by an area in the original Disneyland, celebrating its 60th anniversary this week, it is a tribute to the sensationally imaginative work of the “imagineers” and artists who created it and […]
Samantha Abbott (“How I Met Your Mother’s” Cobie Smulders) is a dedicated and passionate teacher at an inner-city Chicago high school. Just as she is coming to terms with her school closing, Samantha faces some life-changing and unexpected news: she […]
It begins with an argument. Frank (George Clooney) is trying to tell us the story. But he is repeatedly interrupted by someone we will learn is Casey (Britt Robertson). “Try to be a little more upbeat,” she urges him. The […]
Blythe Danner gives a performance of exquisite sensitivity in “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” the story of a lonely widow. She plays Carol, a singer-turned teacher who retired 20 years ago after her husband died. Her friends in a […]
Brett Haley wrote and directed “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” a bittersweet romance starring the luminous Blythe Danner as Carol, a widow taking some tentative steps toward love with Bill, a handsome new neighbor played by Sam Elliott. Haley […]
Tonight on New York PBS station WNET, “Treasures of New York: Friars Club” will explore the rich history of the exclusive private club through never-before-seen footage of Frairs roasts and interviews with some of the club’s most prominent members. Larry […]
Lewis Black plays Anger in Pixar’s new film, “Inside Out.” So who better to remind the audience to TURN OFF THEIR CELL PHONES!
The wonderful Claire LaZebnik has written another terrific YA book. This one is Wrong About the Guy, the story of Ellie, a high school senior who lives with her mother, her musician stepfather, who has become unexpectedly famous as the […]
Reading Rainbow’s Kickstarter project has announced that its “Skybrary,” a subscription-based online library for kids, is here. Families can get access to more than 500 carefully selected books that children can read on smartphones or tablets, with new content added […]
Here’s a clip from a fabulous musical number featuring Coldplay and Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage. Turn in to NBC tomorrow at 8 to see the Red Nose Day show!
The public interest and child advocacy groups that have charged Google and YouTube Kids with failing to meet their promise to screen videos and ensure that there is no material inappropriate for young children has come back to add new […]
It was a treat to talk to Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg), the award-winning, multi-platinum producer/composer who created the sensational soundtrack for Mad Max: Fury Road, ranging from orchestral to heavy metal, and now available for purchase. Coming up next, he […]
Seeds of Time is a documentary that seems like a terrifying science fiction story. It is about the efforts of Cary Fowler, funded by Bill Gates, to find, preserve, and store seeds from plants necessary for all life forms on […]
Zac Efron stars in “We Are Your Friends,” opening in August 2015.
A strange and lonely man tries to come to terms with a past crime that cost him the love of his life in this film, opening June 19, 2015.
We are delighted to have a sneak peek at Netflix’s new Richie Rich series, premiering May 22, 2015.
One of my favorite critics interviewed one of my favorite actresses — Susan Wloszczyna spoke to Blythe Danner about her role in the bittersweet romance, “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Paltrow talks about introducing her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, to […]
Tonight on PBS, the brilliant documentary “1971” will be shown on the Independent Lens series. In 1971, a group of ordinary citizens broke into a small FBI office in Pennsylvania and shared with the world their findings on COINTELPRO, the […]
The highest-grossing movie of 2014 is also one of the most controversial. Director Clint Eastwood and producer-star Bradley Cooper have made a more subtle and nuanced film than either the people who loved it or the people who hated it […]
Even the least ambitious films often include some philosophical questions about identity, meaning, and free will. But I enjoyed this list of philosophical films from The Guardian. All of them are worth seeing and all of the questions they raise […]
Carlos Pratt plays a real-life high school championship athlete in McFarland, USA, available on DVD and Blu-Ray June 2, 2015. Kevin Costner plays Coach Jim White, who has never coached running before when he helped a group of boys from […]
Miley Cyrus has founded a new nonprofit called Happy Hippies “to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable populations.” To help get the word out and help raise money, she is inviting her […]
250 words and a $99 entry fee can win you a movie theater. The Cape Ann Cinema is holding an essay contest to select the next owner. Owner Rob Newton says: I opened the living-room-style Cape Ann Community Cinema in […]
The new “Supergirl” series on CBS stars Melissa Benoist (“Glee,” “Whiplash,” “Danny Collins”) as Superman’s Kryptonian cousin, with Calista Flockhart as her “Devil Wears Prada”-style boss. Former Superman (“Clark and Lois” Dean Cain and former Supergirl Helen Slater play her adoptive […]
Dude Perfect is the second largest sports channel on YouTube, with over 4.5 million subscribers and more than 556 million views. They are a group of five best friends (plus a panda) from Texas who love sports, comedy and living […]
This looks a bit too much like “Bruce Almighty,” but with the Monty Python guys playing aliens, I can’t help but be intrigued.
Mad Max (Tom Hardy, taking over from Mel Gibson) stamps on a two-headed lizard and then chews its head off. And that’s just in the first minute. That master of apocalyptic junkyard anarchy, George Miller, is back, bigger, wilder, madder […]
“Pitch Perfect 2″ is — bear with me — the musical comedy variation on the “Furious 7″ recipe for success. The sequel jettisons any pretense of seriousness of purpose, structural logic, or psychological authenticity, joyfully tosses off any pretense of […]
Roger Ebert’s Great Movies ebook is on sale through May 24 for only $1.99. Whether you are a long-time film fan or just looking for something new on Netflix, you will want to have Ebert’s wise and witty appreciations of […]
Queen Latifah plays blues singer Bessie Smith in a new movie premiering on HBO May 16, 2015. Monique co-stars as Ma Rainey. Here is the real Bessie Smith.
Red Nose Day is a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh. Already established in the UK, the inaugural US Red Nose Day will be held […]
Do you want to see a wild comedy with Sofia Vergara? Don’t waste your time with the dreary Hot Pursuit. Take a look at a much better film, Big Trouble, made in 2002, with Tim Allen and Rene Russo, based […]
It’s one thing to create a soundtrack for one story. But Tom Salta had to create one consistent theme for multiple potential storylines and outcomes for the latest version of HALO, called Spartan Strike. The game is available on Windows […]
There is only one person who should decide which toy is fun — the person who plays with it. Not the manufacturers or the retailers. President Obama wisely pointed this out by refusing to accept the labels on toys at […]
Some of my favorites from 50 Must-See Movies: Mothers (free this weekend!):
Disney’s “Tomorrowland” is coming soon! Here are some clues…
My beautiful and brilliant daughter, Rachel Apatoff, is a costume designer in Hollywood and she was interviewed on NPR today. A woman who worked with costume legends Edith Head and Bob Mackie was selling some of her possessions in a […]
Here is my wonderful dad, Newton Minow, on his famous “vast wasteland” speech, delivered to the National Association of Broadcasters on May 9, 1961, 54 years ago today. On Tuesday night, Chicago PBS station WTTW celebrated its 60th anniversary and […]
Happy 100th birthday to the writer/director/star of one of the greatest films of all time, Citizen Kane. Everyone should see that movie, and then everyone should see it again, listening to Roger Ebert’s shot-by-shot commentary, a master illuminating a master […]
In honor of Mother’s Day, my ebook 50 Must-See Movies: Mothers will be free on Amazon through Monday, May 8-11, 2015. No relationship is more primal, more fraught, more influential, more worried over, more nourishing when good and more devastating […]
Christina Noble is an Irish woman known as “Mama Tina” to thousands of Vietnamese children and their families. Her own childhood was one of poverty, abandonment, loss, and hardship, but her resilience and determination led her to give children half […]
Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are both talented, beautiful actresses with savvy business acumen and strong entrepreneurial energy. Witherspoon’s accolades in 2014 included more than a Best Actress Oscar nomination for “Wild.” She also produced it, and another Oscar-nominated film, […]
If only salutory intentions and one good performance could save a film so fundamentally wrongly conceived. “Bravetown” starts out as “Footloose,” veers into “Ordinary People,” and ends up as “Swing Kids,” with jaw-dropping shifts in tone and focus and total […]
Comedies, especially dark ones, have a lot of freedom when it comes to narrative logic, but the emotional logic still has to ring true. No matter how crazy the storyline gets, the way the characters respond to it has to […]
A surf bum named Ian (Luke Wilson) is explaining the physics of the interaction between surfboard and wave: it’s an inanimate object in an ever-changing environment. One doesn’t move. One never stops moving in powerful and highly unpredictable ways. And […]
Australian actor Brenton Thwaites (“Maleficent,” “The Giver”) stars in “Ride,” a new film written, directed, and starring Oscar-winner Helen Hunt. She plays Jackie, an overprotective mother whose son Angelo (Thwaites) is about to start college and move into a dorm […]
J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults was the dark, sometimes savage story of small town politics, The Casual Vacancy. The title refers to an elected office that is vacated before the term is up, which in this story occurs in […]
On May 14, 2015, an Indiana Jones exhibit comes to Washington, D.C.’s National Geographic Museum. It is an immersive experience, exploring the science and history of field archeology, featuring iconic props and behind-the-scenes production materials, including: * A vast and […]
Real-life spouses Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega talk about robots for the “Spare Parts” DVD/Blu-Ray, available today.
Disney’s “Tomorrowland” opens Memorial Day weekend. Britt Robertson (“The Longest Ride”) plays Casey.
Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts is this month’s MVP and best screen boyfriend, playing patient, decent, devoted, outdoorsy lovers in two different costume dramas. In “Far from the Madding Crowd” he plays farmer Gabriel Oak and in “A Little Chaos” he […]
The Smithsonian calls it a “reimagination of the movie-theater experience.” Its Arbus IMAX Theater at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum is one of only four theaters in the United States and the only one on the East coast to […]
Celebrate Star Wars Day (“May the 4th Be With You”) by checking out the Star Wars Instagram photos. One of the highlights is Darth Vader’s selfie.
Adam Sandler is currently filming “The Ridiculous Six,” reportedly a comic version of the classic Western “The Magnificent Seven.” According to Indian Country Today Media, a group of Native American actors walked off the set because they were offended by […]
Woody Allen’s new movie has Joaquin Phoenix as a depressed middle-aged professor who finds new joy and meaning in the love a beautiful young student. This is a recurring theme in Allen’s films, but this trailer suggests that it may […]
I really enjoyed The Jottery: Thought Experiments for Everyday Philosophers and Part-Time Geniuses by Andy Selsberg. Each page has a question or mental challenge — think of it as something between a really high-end fortune cookie, a profound zen koan, […]
I was privileged to hear Nina Simone perform in concert and can’t wait to see this film.
The Museum of Science Fiction today announced the launch of an online contest to celebrate the opening of Disney’s new film “Tomorrowland.” Fans can submit their vision of tomorrow for a chance to win a prize pack including promotional items […]
Alex Garland is the screenwriter of thought-provoking sci-fi films like “28 Days Later” and “Never Let Me Go.” He wrote and for the first time directed “Ex Machina,” a fascinating story about Caleb, a computer programmer (Domhnall Gleeson), invited to […]
Jenna Busch and the wonderful folks of Legion of Leia and Heroic Girls are asking an important question: #wheresnatasha? Remember last year when the #WheresGamora hashtag called out the lack of Gamora toys in the Guardians of the Galaxy toy […]
Coming January 2016, starring Joseph Fiennes.
Fasten your seatbelts! Summer movies are here. Tonight “Avengers: Age of Ultron” will explode into theaters. It’s already a blockbuster overseas. And for those of you who are looking for something more literary, “Far from the Madding Crowd” opens today […]
It may be a British costume drama based on a classic novel, but Thomas Hardy’s saga of a headstrong woman and the three marriage proposals from very different men is not the usual corsets and teacups. Far from the Madding […]
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) sums it up best. Speaking pretty much to himself but also to us in the audience, he notes that he is on a floating city trying to fight off a robot army with arrows. “It doesn’t make […]
In “Welcome to Me,” Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a depressed woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who wins $86 million in the lottery. She uses much of it to create a one-woman television series that feature monologues about her life […]
Fashion icon nonagenarian Iris Apfel is renowned for her taste and style. But people who see this movie, the last from documentary legend Albert Maysles, will remember her for her fearlessness and life force. Along with the signature big, round, […]
Tonight on Jeopardy Puss in Boots becomes the first CG-animated character to host an entire category of answers. Puss “recorded” clues for an entire category called “Not as Great as Puss In Boots.” On May 8, The Adventures of Puss […]
Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Far from the Madding Crowd is the story of headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, who inherits a farm and who receives marriage proposals from three very different men. A new version starring Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, […]
Meryl Streep has made a contribution to a lab program for women over 40 who write movies. The only program of its kind, The Writers Lab evolved in recognition of the absence of the female voice in narrative film, along […]
The Tony nominations are out! I was delighted to see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” get several nominations, including best play, best actor Alex Sharp, and best director Marianne Elliott. It is one of the most […]
Coming to the Disney Channel this summer:
The women’s clothes get all the attention, but for a costume designer — and for the actor — a suit is just as important. Indiewire spoke to costume designers about what the suits worn on “Mad Men,” “Scandal,” “Better Call […]
Matt Mamula co-directed “Just About Famous,” the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes famous, and it seemed […]
Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced by Ken Burns, based on the book by book by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Everybody who […]
I had so much fun at last year’s Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is the third time the MPAA has teamed up with media and technology partners […]
The beloved book The Little Prince has been gorgeously animated, with voices including Jeff Bridges, James Franco, and Rachel McAdams. I love this trailer.
I was delighted to see that there is a documentary about Louis Sarno, whose work I have admired since I saw the wonderful film Oka! directed by Lavinia Currier.
Be careful what you wish for. You think it would be great to stay 29 forever? Adaline (Blake Lively) finds out that it is not great to become unstuck from time, to watch everyone you love grow old and die, […]
Before it detours into not one, not two, but at least three preposterous Hollywood twists, “The Water Diviner” is an absorbing drama about Joshua Connor, an Australian farmer (Russell Crowe, making his directing debut as well) who travels to Turkey […]
The latest Criticwire survey asks for our first encounters with “Star Wars.” I had a lot of fun writing about mine: A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away, or at least that’s how it seems now, my […]
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” opens May 1, 2015.
When will humans (at least those in movies) figure out that putting machines in charge is never a good idea?
Celebrate Earth Day with some of these great films about our planet, its beauties and its challenges: 1. An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary makes a powerful case for the dire effects of climate change — and an even […]
I am a big fan of former Disney studio head Dick Cook, and was delighted to hear that he will be heading up a new $150 million studio to make family movies. “Our mission will always be to provide the […]
Fandango, the nation’s leading digital destination for moviegoers with 36 million unique visitors per month, announced today the May 6 launch of “We Love Movies,” celebrating the joys of moviegoing. The summer-long program will feature celebrity events, VIP movie screenings, […]
The Adventures of Maya the Bee is a classic children’s book from Germany, originally published more than 100 years ago, about a brave little bee who breaks the rules by leaving the hive but saves the day when she warns […]
My all-time favorite sitcom is “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Though I’ve seen every episode many times, I still watch them on Hulu. And some of the best were the ones featuring Van Dyke’s real-life brother Jerry as Rob Petrie’s […]
The Hobbit: The Definitive Movie Posters is a gorgeous new book and a must-have for all would-be denizens of Middle Earth.
Thanks to Matt Zoller Seitz, Sheila O’Malley, and Todd Rendleman for our superb discussion about this year’s Oscar winner for best foreign language movie, “Ida.”
The Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum used to have a great little video with a claymation Albert Einstein shaking his head over the many mistakes in sci-fi movies. “They’re breaking my rule!” he exclaimed. As the animated genius went on […]
Okay, I admit I was skeptical. I was thinking along the lines of Teeny Little Super Guy from Sesame Street. But I love Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll and this trailer has me sold.
Check out Slate’s compilation of movie scenes set in grocery stores. It has a lot of my favorites, but leaves out this classic with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, from the fact-based “Yours, Mine, and Ours.”
It was a great honor to be included on today’s panel of movie critics, along with superstars Godfrey Cheshire, Scott Foundas, Matt Zoller Seitz, Rebecca Theodore Vachon, Richard Roeper, Susan Wloszczyna, Michael Phillips, Brian Tallarico, and Sam Fragoso.
I was very lucky to be able to attend a preview of the upcoming 9th annual GI Film Festival, coming to Washington, D.C. and Fairfax, Virginia May 18-24, 2015. Brandon Millett and Laura Law-Millett started the festival, the first ever […]
As “Mad Men” is coming to a close, the fans who have found its depth and insights enthralling are creating their own versions of their favorite scenes, and you can watch them online. Take a look and post your own!
Greetings from the campus of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where the 17th annual Roger Ebert Film Festival is underway. I am delighted to be appearing on a panel of very distinguished film critics this morning and will post […]
Disneynature’s annual wild kingdom-style nature documentary is predictably adorable but surprisingly absorbing. The toque macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka live in the 12th century ruins of Polonnaruwa in a society as rigidly structured and ruthlessly enforced as a high school […]
Movies about artificial intelligence or computers achieving consciousness are, of course, really about what it means to be human. When software and hardware combine to mimic or exceed human qualities in “Her,” “Chappie,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Terminator,” or the […]